This is not a photograph of the Grand Canyon. Or any other canyon on Earth. But it's in our planet. It's the winner of the 2011 edition of FEI's electron microscope image contest.

It is a capture of the cracks of a metal piece, after the a bending test failure.

Images taken with electron microscopes—like the Nova NanoLab DualBeam used for this photo—are in black and white. The resulting images can then be colored, often to highlight features that are useful for researchers or just for fun.

The image of the crack was colored by Martina Dienstlede, from the Institute for Electron Microscopy at the Graz University of Technology.

Second place: Capillary net of an alveola showing the erythrocytes within the blood vessels.

Third place: Forepart of a mite.

Like most electron microscope images, these winners are beautiful and defy belief. I wish I had electronic microscope vision built-in.

Check out the gallery for more amazing examples. [FEI]